With sole possession of first place on the line, Kamehameha Schools Maui emerged on top.
Quinn Williams and Marley Duncan each scored, and the Warriors defeated King Kekaulike 2-0 on Friday in a Maui Interscholastic League girls soccer match at Kanaiaupuni Stadium.
"Huge game," said Kamehameha coach Steven Mau.
Marley Duncan of Kamehameha Schools Maui and Nikki Musto of King Kekaulike battle for a bull during the Warriors’ 2-0 victory over Na Alii on Friday at Kanaiaupuni Stadium.
The Maui News / CHRIS SUGIDONO photo
"Every game from here on out is huge because we're all so close in point standings."
The Warriors (10-2-0), who lost to Na Alii (9-2-1) in their previous meeting, wanted to get off to a fast start and did so thanks to Williams. From the right side of the penalty box, the freshman curved a free kick over a wall of defenders and into the left side of the net in the 29th minute.
In the 59th, Duncan broke away from a pack of defenders and blasted a goal from the right side of the penalty box.
Kamehameha Maui 2, King Kekaulike 0
Hana 2, Seabury Hall 1
Lahainaluna 3, St. Anthony 0
Seabury Hall at Hana, 10 a.m.
Baldwin at Maui High, 4 p.m.
"We knew this game was super-crucial and we had to put in 110 percent the entire game," said Duncan, a junior. "Last game (against Na Alii), we stood back on our heels a little bit and didn't do as much as we could have. But I think we proved ourselves."
Earlier in the season, Mau said he routinely substituted five to six players at a time - the Warriors' first-year coach wanted to see which combination of players worked.
"Every day at work I would try to draw up something and figure out who's who, and what's going to jive with what," he said. "And now I think I've found it."
The combination of Williams and Duncan proved to be potent - each found the other for several goal-scoring opportunities on Friday.
In the 48th, Duncan crossed a pass from the right corner of the field to Williams, who was sprinting in from the opposite side. Williams knocked a shot off the goalpost.
"We definitely know each others strategies a little bit better," said Duncan. "It's easier for us to know what another person's thinking now than it was earlier in the season."
Mau said Duncan has been one of the pivotal players for their success.
"She gets so fired up on the bench that she wants to come up," said Mau. "But I hold her 15 minutes, so she knows that it's time, and she brings that extra energy out and it shows."
Kamehameha has won seven straight games.
"We're peaking at the right time," Mau said.
King Kekaulike, which had won six in a row, is now tied for second with Baldwin.
"We're still in the mix and we told the ladies we need to win out," said Na Alii coach Gundi Dancil.
* Chris Sugidono is at firstname.lastname@example.org